Market Overview

OmegaFlex: Lightning Protection Institute Ignores Science and Lightning Codes


In a recent press release, the Lightning Protection Institute cautioned
its member contractors to take liability precautions when installing
lightning protections systems in homes with corrugated stainless steel
tubing. LPI stated that "the efficacy of [CSST] bonding practices hasn't
been verified." However, that statement by LPI contradicts its prior
statements and one of the basic principles of lightning protection –
bonding of metallic systems to the electrical ground will mitigate
arcing and attendant damage.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here:

US Home Structure Fires 2009-2013 Leading Causes * (Graphic: Business Wire)

US Home Structure Fires 2009-2013 Leading Causes * (Graphic: Business Wire)

In August of 2008, the Lightning Protection Institute issued an LPI Tech
Letter on the new changes to the National Fuel Gas Code (NFPA 54). The
2009 version of NFPA 54 required that if a "lightning protection system
is installed for a structure, metallic gas piping shall be bonded to the
lightning protection grounding system." At the time, LPI noted with
approval that this change and other changes in NFPA standard "clarify
language with regard to lightning protections systems, which has helped
to highlight the importance of equipotential bonding . . ."

Furthermore, LPI's recent press release ignores a key principle of
lightning protection, which is the equipotential bonding of metal
systems inside a building to side flashes. That principle is evidenced
in the lightning protection code, "Standard for the Installation of
Lightning Protection Systems."
1 Sections 4.14 and
4.16 of that code specifically require that metal systems, including gas
piping, must be bonded to the lightning protection system.

LPI also ignores recent work performed by the corrugated stainless steel
tubing (CSST) industry working with the Fire Protection Research
Foundation and Gas Technology Institute (GTI). GTI and its vendors
conducted independent experiments at a leading lightning laboratory to conclusively
prove that bonding of gas piping systems, including CSST systems, would
suppress transient arcing caused by a near-by lightning strike. The GTI
study concluded that the "connection of a 6AWG copper direct bonding
conductor between the CSST and earth ground diverts sufficient energy to
prevent perforation over a wide range of conditions."2

Finally, in the recent LPI press release, there is a statement that
calls for statistical information about lightning fires involving CSST.
That statement also ignores the current existing information published
by the NFPA3 that clearly shows that the number of lightning
fires to residential homes in the United States is about 1% of the total
of all residential fires, and that fires caused by lightning in which
natural gas or propane are the materials first ignited are about 0.06%
of all residential fires. It should be noted that those lightning/gas
fires also include rigid pipe systems as well as CSST systems. It is
clear from existing data that the threat of lightning damage to a CSST
system and fires, while a serious issue, is not a significant major fire
threat in the United States (see chart above regarding the leading
causes of US home structure fires).

The CSST industry has not waited for regulatory mandates, but has taken
the initiative to develop a new generation of conductive-jacket CSST
products that provide an additional measure of safety against damage
from electrical arcing caused by lightning. These products have been
proven to be able to withstand damage from electrical arcing caused by
lightning by an order of magnitude compared to the original CSST
designs. We invite you to learn more by going to our website
to learn more about our lightning resistant CSST, CounterStrike®
- the best CSST on the market today.

About CSST

CSST was initially developed during the early 1980s as a safe and
effective gas distribution system that can withstand damage that can
occur during earthquakes and other natural disasters. The comprehensive
CSST system consists of flexible pipe between the building gas source
and appliances. The flexibility of the tube allows it to be routed
throughout the building in continuous lengths without the many joints
required with rigid piping, and without the need for any special tools.
Corrugated stainless steel tubing now commands slightly over one-half of
the market for fuel gas piping in new and remodeled residential
construction in the United States, and the use of rigid iron pipe, and
to a lesser degree copper tube, accounts for the remainder of the market.

For more information about CSST, visit

About TracPipe CounterStrike

TracPipe CounterStrike is designed to be more resistant to damage from
transient electrical arcing than conventional gas piping materials. In a
lightning strike, the electrical energy of the lightning can energize
all electrical and mechanical components in a building. This electrical
energy in attempting to reach ground may arc between systems that have
different electrical potential, and arcing can cause damage to any of
these systems. TracPipe CounterStrike CSST is designed with an
electrically conductive jacket to dissipate this energy, protecting the
gas carrying stainless steel core. In 2007, TracPipe CounterStrike was
tested to be six times more resistant to damage from electrical arcing
than the original TracPipe CounterStrike version, and between 50 to 400
times more effective than traditional competitive CSST products.

About OmegaFlex

Established in 1975, Omega Flex, Inc. (NASDAQ:OFLX) is the pre-eminent
international producer of flexible metallic piping products. With more
than 90 patents registered worldwide, OmegaFlex supplies proprietary
products for a broad number of applications and markets, which include
primary steel production, semi-conductor, medical, pharmaceutical,
petrochemical, residential and commercial construction, and power

OmegaFlex®, TracPipe® and CounterStrike® are registered trademarks of
OmegaFlex®. All rights reserved

1 National Fire Protection Association, "Standard for the
Installation of Lightning Protection Systems," (NFPA 780, 2017 ed.)

2 Gas Technology Institute, "Validation of Installation
Methods for CSST Gas Piping to Mitigate Indirect Lightning Related Damage
Issued September 5, 2013, Revised October 12, 2015

3 National Fire Protection Association, "Structure Fires
Started by Lightning,
" Jennifer Flynn, April 2017

View Comments and Join the Discussion!